On arriving into Pushkar you notice immediately that the place has a small town ambience compared to the major cities of India. The layout is quite easy to get to grips with and within a day you will feel as though you know your way around. Pushkar is one of the holiest places in India, with the bathing ghats (it is here that Ghandi’s ashes were scattered) and the holy lake. Pushkar Lake is the only one in the country that is associated with Lord Brahma. Story has it that Pushkar came into creation after Lord Brahma dropped a lotus flower onto the ground. As you can imagine this makes Pushkar one of India’s holiest pilgrimage sites. Book your ideal holiday to Pushkar with cheap Tickets to India.
Life in Pushkar seems to be much more peaceful than say Delhi, Mumbai or Calcutta. Yes it has its fair share of street beggars but the slum side is relatively restricted and much of Pushkar is characterized by white houses that lend it both a serene and quaint feel. Accommodation options are varied with many more mid-range options available than other cities, with havelis set around courtyards and beautiful rooftop terraces to look out over the unique skyline and enjoy sensational sunsets.
The best way to enjoy Pushkar is to wander at ease, poking your head in at the ghats and temples as you gain a feel for the place. Despite its smaller size, naturally there are astute locals ready to scam a living out of foreign visitors. Perhaps the biggest scam in Pushkar is the prayer ceremony (known as Puja) offered by faux priests who exist in quite some numbers, hanging out by the ghat gates to prey on unsuspecting tourists. The idea of the scam is to offer a personal prayer service to bless you and your family and to bring them good luck and fortune. The idea itself is a nice one, however it is the ‘donation’ that they will try to extort from you in order to secure the Gods highest blessings (at this point you should be getting cynical) that results in their daily bread. All well and good so long as you agree the amount you are prepared to donate before the puja begins, in which case you will avoid the awkward tension and hard sell at the end of your blessing. They may also try to persuade you to ‘donate’ your watch or other precious items to ensure good health, wealth and happiness for your family. Most travellers are not taken in to that extreme!
Despite the faux priests, the ghats are a wonderful and unique setting, both for photographs and for contemplation of life! Arrive early morning and you will witness a public bathing session as locals ironically ‘cleanse’ themselves in probably the most polluted holy water in the world! Be careful not to invade the privacy of those bathing by ensuring you leave your camera behind at these times.
Pushkar is known internationally for its annual Camel Fair, normally taking place around October or November time. At this time accommodation is scarce and it is therefore best to book well ahead. The Camel Fair attracts both Indians from all over as well as travellers in their hundreds. However it is well worth navigating the crowds as the Camel Fair is indeed a spectacle to behold. Traders from all across India gather with their cattle, but whilst there is a commercial side to it all, really the Fair is a 4 or 5 day festival of music, dance and entertainment, as well as camel racing. Prepare to be entranced.